WEDDINGS BELLS AND A CHAMPIONSHIP FOR SAGAR
July 2, 1949. The Liverpool Echo
Derby Double Meant New Grip For Leaders
Jimmy Dunn Chaired
By Ted Sagar
As Told To Allan Robinson
Ted Sagar, Everton’s international goalkeeper, continuing his life story, recalls the final stages of the Blues’ 1931-32 championship year when each game became a “needle” match.
It is every footballer’s ambition to win a League championship medal to put among the souvenirs but it is a very wearying business and one that probably takes a couple of seasons off a player’s life. Mentally, as well as physically, It is a test as every game becomes a “needle” game and the lowest in the league table like to “take it out” of the league leaders as a crumb of consolation for their disgruntled supporters. To add to the general excitement we were drawn at home to Liverpool in the third round of the F.A. Cup. We lost 2-1 through a header by Gordon Hodgson which I did not see, 15 minutes from the end. Elisha Scott showed all his magical wares in that game. It was on the same day that Arsenal defeated Darwen 11-1 and Tranmere Rovers drew with Chelsea’s might at Prenton Park, only to lose the replay at Stamford Bridge.
Following the Cup-Tie, an injury sustained in a mid-week practice robbed me of my “ever-present” certificate. After a run I went into goal still wearing rubber shoes slipped and injured my in-step. It was the only game I missed that season, and Coggins took my place in the home game against Sunderland, which we won 4-2. I was back in the side the following game and Manchester City, who had beaten us 1-0 in an earlier game at Goodison Park repeated the dose at Maine Road. It was a fog day and we could not see further than 20 yards. The only time I saw Len Langford, the City goalkeeper was in the dressing room. I don’t think a quarter of the spectators saw the goal –I did not see much of it myself. This was a mid-week game and the following Saturday saw the second leg of “derby” meeting. We defeated Liverpool 2- at Anfield thus completing the double. White and Critchley were our scorers. Wright getting the Reds goal. Rigby the former Blackburn left-winger was brought into the Everton side, vice Stein. He was in my opinion only equaled by Liverpool’s Fred Hopkin for the accuracy of his centres. That “Derby” victory was a timely one, as our grip on the league leadership had relaxed as the result of one or two lapses against team who appeared to have reserved their best for the leaders. (Ted apparently played some small part in the “Derby” win as Stork wrote – “The more I see of Sagar the more I like him. He reminds me of Elisha Scott in the latter’s greatest days. He fields the ball in the same way, and has the same cat-like agility, of the Irishman”). To continue –the temporary slump the Blues had experienced had been stayed and we went on to a 5-1 victory at home against Sheffield Utd, whom we had defeated away by a similar score, and the following week completed another double over their near rivals the Wednesday whom we defeated 3-1.
Missed £10,000 Prize
The following Friday I went with Everton’s annual party to the 1932 Grand National, which Forbra won at 60-1 but we footballers were rotting for another horse, which Gordon Hodgson and his fellow South African Arthur Riley, had drawn in the Irish Sweep –there was no question of legality in those days –and we suffered with them when their horse was run out of third place by Shaun Gollin, which deprived them of a £10,000 prize. Among the spectators that year were the Prince of Wales and the late Prince George. On the following day we defeated Huddersfield 4-1 (Dean 3, and Johnson) at Goodison and the Town’s goal was debited to me. I caught a high ball, but in trying to avoid a charge by Dave Mangnall, the present manager of Queen’s Park Rangers I slewed around and let the ball drop over the line. I will always remember –as thousands more will –our home victory on Good Friday against West Bromwich, for a goal that ranks among the best I have ever seen. It was scored by Jimmy Dunn, who hit a winner from 40 yards, and was “chaired” to the centred line by his colleagues, while the excited holiday crowd cheered him for several minutes afterwards. Probably no goal for Everton –including Dean’s 60th –has had a greater reception. April 2 saw the reversal by the same score, of the result that put us into the second Division two seasons before. We beat Grimsby 4-2, and got some small revenge for that galling relegation defeat.
A Team Victory
Grimsby were at the bottom of the League table, but it looked as through once again they were going to be our” bogey” team, as they got a leading goal that everybody except the referee, said wasn’t a goal at all. I stopped a shot two yards out of goal and Jock Thomson completed the clearance, but for some inexplicable reason the referee said “goal.” We recovered, however, and laid the “bogey.” Late on in the season we beat Leicester 1-0 at Filbert Street and some of the newspapers said I won the match but it was a team victory. No team of individuals can get far. We have had witness of that in many international games, when eleven players, ostensibly the best in the country in their respective positions just fail to weld into a team. Everton’s championship belonged to no one player or group of players, but the whole of the playing staff, officials and board. On Cup Final day, 1932, when Newcastle defeated Arsenal 2-1 by a goal that will always be disputed as being scored after the ball had crossed the dead ball line (not even the evidence of the news-reels could erase the result from the record book) we lost 1-0 at Middleborough through a goal that was particularly mortifying to me. While I was saving one high up the Borough’s “five-feet-nothing” Bob Bruce caught me on the wrong leg and bundied both me and the ball into the back of the net. In the 40th game of the season we beat Bolton at Goodison 1-0 –appropriately enough Dean got the goal – and so made sure of the championship.
Incidentally in the annual match, Championship Cup winners, we beat Newcastle, at Newcastle, 5-3 and I stopped a penalty from Sam Weaver, who did not miss many from the “spot.”
The day following the close of the season was a milestone in the private life of Ted Sagar. Earlier in the season I had become friendly with a Walton girl, Miss Dorothy Evans daughter of Mr. William Evans, an Everton supporter for over 50 years who is still a gate attendant at Goodison Park. We were married on Sunday, May 8, 1932 at St. Lawrence’s Church, Kirkdale. A large crowd of Everton supporters gave us a warm send-off and it was evidently some soccer “fans” who designed the cake, which was surmounted by a miniature goal with a goalkeeper and ball, designed in sugar. We have two sons, Edwards, Junr who is 16 and is playing for Lunt’s Soapworkers team in the Bootle J.O.C and David (10) who is playing for his school (warbreck) junior team. Edward Sagar, Junr is a goalkeeper, and is anxious to follow in his father’s footsteps in the Everton goal.
Next week Ted Sagar will describe tie by the Everton’s march to Wembley for the third honour in successive seasons.
TED SAGAR TELLS OF EVERTON GLORIOUS 1933
July 9, 1949. The Liverpool Echo
Wembley Final From the Turf Aspect
By Ted Sagar (Everton and England)
As Told To Allan Robinson
Ted Sagar, the Everton wonder man, who is still first choice in the Blues’ goal after 20 years, describes to-day tie-by-tie, Everton’s march to Wembley in season 1932-33 for their third honour in successive years.
After we had beaten Newcastle in the Champion v. Cup-holders annual match the chairman of the Newcastle team expressed the hope that Everton would follow the United’s example and win the cup the following season. His words were to come true. Our League position throughout 1932-33 was comfortable without being as inspiring as the previous season, but somehow we felt that this was to be our Cup year. It is remarkable how a team’s hunches do materialize. A newcomer to Everton that season from Bristol Rovers was a slight, fair-haired gentlemanly young player by the name of Cliff Britton, I did not think then that 16 years later I would still be in the Everton goal and that same young half-back would return to Goodison as team manager and help to save the Blues from relegation.
In the third round of the cup we were drawn away to Leicester City. As usual we did our training at Buxton and on the first occasion the snow was so thick on the Buxton football ground that we had to borrow shovels from the local Corporation and dig a track around the ground before we could train. We beat the City 3-2, our goals coming from Dean, Stein and Dunn, the three players who later were to get the three goals in the final at Wembley. Our team that day –and it did not change materially throughout the run-war. Sagar; Cook, Cresswell; Britton, White, Thomson; Geldard, Dunn, Dean, Johnson, and Stein. The City keeper that day was Calvert a “townie” of mine who had played opposite to me in a Yorkshire junior trial some years before. In the fourth round we were drawn at home to Bury, and fielding the same team as in the previous round we won 3-1, our scorers being Johnson (2) and Dean.
When we were coming off the field I picked up a brooch bearing a miniature replica of the F.A. Cup, I regarded it as an omen and treasured it right up to Wembley. Prior to one Cup-tie, I had left home when I remembered I had left my charm behind. I dashed back for it even though I was in danger of missing the team. I doubt whether there has ever been a colder January than in 1933 as after the Bury match I went back to our brand-new home on the East Lancashire Road to have what would have been my first meal there only to find the place flooded out as the result of burst pipes. That first meal was delayed for six weeks. The following round we were drawn at home to Leeds United with its family defence of Potts and his two brothers-in-law, Milburn (G.) and Milburn (J.). Leeds in an earlier round had been lucky to draw 0-0 against Tranmere Rovers, whom they defeated 4-0 in the replay.
That 7-4 Douche
Prior to the Leeds game we had been beaten by Liverpool at Anfield 7-4 in one of the most famous of the “Liverton” games and to save a flood of queries here are the scorers Baron (3) Hanson, Morrison, Taylor, Roberts; Dean (2), Johnson, Stein. Incidentally seven goals is the most I have ever had scored against me. That defeat might have undermined our confidence and don’t forget that Leeds in those days had a great international half-back line in Edwards, Hart and Copping, but we were all very confident that year at Goodison. We beat the United 2-0 (Dean and Stein) before 58,000 spectators and I had a great deal more to do that day than I did when Liverpool “laced” us. Stein’s tantalizing swerving centres won us that game. One completely eluded the United’s defence and allowed Dean to nod one through and he second one came direct from a Stein corner kick which swerved prodigiously and swung in over Dean’s head and Pott’s outstretched hands.
In the sixth round we had Luton Town, who had beaten Barnsley, Spurs, and Halifax at Goodison Park. It was a game that many will remember for thousands of Luton supporters turned up in their traditional straw hats. They discarded them by slinging them all over the playing pitch after we had beaten their favourities 6-0. Stein (2), Johnson (2), Dunn and Dean, and doubtless many of them are decorating some Liverpool lumber rooms as a memento of Everton’s cup year. Critchley, for the injured Geldard was our only change in that game. In the semi-final we were drawn against West Ham United at Wolves. Although the United were in the Second Division we did not under-estimate them, as they had Wembley experience –and what an experienced. They were in the memorable first final at Wembley in 1923 v Bolton, when 120,000 got in and invaded the pitch, and threatened to cause abandonment until a mounted policeman on his now famous white horse prevailed upon them to clear the playing arena. George Kay, Liverpool’s manager was he centre half for West Ham in that Cup Final.
When we played West Ham on March 18 1933, they had several personalities including vic Watson and “Man Mountain” Barnett, the centre half. We took the lead in the first half through Dunn, but before the interval Vic Watson equalized with a picture goal that almost sent the “Hammers” supporters delirious. Morton put in a low centre from the wing, and although it appeared to me as though none of the United forwards could possibly reach it. Vic Watson the centre forward, flung himself headlong and, with his body paralled with the ground headed the ball into the net. In the second half Ted Critchley put in a centre which beat the goalkeeper, and although Barrett tried to breast the ball away he only succeeded in turning it into the net. It was ironical that Critchley, who scored the goal that put us into the final, should have been dropped for the Wembley game for which Geldard was fit, but Ted was 12th man and received a medal. The other finalists were Manchester City, who defeated Derby County 3-2 in the semi-final and this made it an all-Lancashire final. If we had ever regarded anybody as our “bogey” team it was the City. In our championship year they had completed the double over us and it was on record that some seasons before they arrived late at Goodison Park, changed in the coach, and dashed right on to the field to beat us 6-0. We arrived at Wembley about midday and were fortunate enough to win the toss for the lucky dressing Room No 1.
Wembley –In Tiers
About n hour before the game still in mufti, we inspected the Wembley pitch which is perfection in football pitches. We received a greet cheer from the Everton “fans” who recognized us. Even among those roaring thousands I was able to pick out my wife in the stands and acknowledge her wave. Wembley is an occasion that one will never forget –tier after tier of good-humoured spectators stretching it seems right up to the sky; the colourful uniforms of the massed bands and the flashing glint of their polished instruments and most inspiring of all 92,950 voices raised in that soul-stirring hymn, “Abide With Me.” It is just about half an hour before the start that dressing-room excitement reaches its peak. Smoking in the dressing room is barred before a match and more particularly before a Cup final, but even that strict disciplinarian, “Warney” Cresswell felt it necessary to have a quiet pipe in the corner of the dressing-room and nobody said him “nay” (as a matter of fact I had a cigarette with him). The coolest of us all was Billy Dean, who never throughout my acquaintanceship with him betrayed the least sign of nerves.
It was the first final in which the players went out in pairs, and the first one, I believe in which players were numbered. The teams were presented to the King who was then Duke of York. The teams were;-
Everton; Sagar; Cook, Cresswell; Britton, White, Thomson; Geldard, Dunn, Dean, Johnson and Stein.
Manchester City; Langford; Cann, Dale; Busby, Cowan, Bray; Toseland, Marshall, Herd, McMullan, and Brook. Manchester City started as though they were going to swamp us, and I think that during that critical period we had to thank more than anybody Willie Cook, who had to face the City “flyer” and match-winner, Eric Brook. Willie well and truly subdued him, and we went on to a comfortable 3-0 victory through goals by Stein, Dean, and Dunn. Dean received the Cup from the Duke of York. Herd and myself by the way, are the only two of the 12 players that day who are still playing. There was a victory dinner that night at the Victoria Hotel, and on Monday the team were taken to a news theatre to see the film record of the final. Naturally there was a lot of ragging about taking up the screen as a career.
On our home-coming on the Tuesday night we were given a tremendous reception by huge crowds who lined the route from Lime Street Station to the Town Hall where we were received by the Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress. We travelled in triumphal procession in the original four-in-hand which carried the victorious 1906 team and was driven by the same driver Mr. Jack Pagenham. Thousands were waiting outside the Town Hall and covering my embarrassment I handed over to a policeman six-year-old lad who had been passed up to me at the station. He was dressed in a miniature football kit, but with a Red jersey! Some Liverpool supporter nearly had the last laugh. We had to appear on the Town Hall balcony with the Cup and more than one, including Billy Dean himself were in tears at the warmth of the reception. Thousands more line the route to the ground ad it was estimated that 60,000 more were waiting inside the ground for us. Certainty nothing like it –not even the two Armistice nights –has been seen in the City before or since.
Next Week Ted Sagar will recall his representative and international appearances and some of his travels abroad.
SAGAR EARNS HIS FIRST INTERNATIONAL CAP
July 16, 1949. The Liverpool Echo
Irish Gale Blew Goalkicks Back For Corners
By Ted Sagar
Everton and England
As Told To Allan Robinson
Ted Sagar, the Everton goalkeeper, got his first English international cap in October, 1935, against Ireland, and was also capped against Scotland at Wembley the same season. Today he tells of those games of his travels abroad, and of some humorous moments in Everton’s “off-field” life.
I got my first representative honour in October, 1933 when I was chosen to play for the Football League against the Irish League at Preston, where we won 4-0. Cliff Britton, was also in the Football League team, which included such notable names as Allen (Portsmouth), Copping (Leeds United), Crooks (Derby County), Bowers (Derby County), Bastin (Arsenal) and Brooks (Manchester City). In the opposing side at inside left was Jackie Coulter who with “Wee” Alec Stevenson, was later to delight Everton fans with his touchline magic. Later in the same season –February, 1941 –I was chosen for the English V. the Scottish League at Ibrox Park, in place of the incomparable Harry Hibbs who was injured. We drew 2-2.
Missed A Derby
The Football League team that day was –Sagar (Everton), Shaw (West Bromwich A), Blenkinsopp (Sheffield W), Willingham (Huddersfield), Allen (Portsmouth), Copping (Leeds Utd); Bruton (Blackburn), Beresford (Aston Villa), Bowers (Derby County), Weaver (Newcastle), Bastin (Arsenal).
Incidentally my selection for the League meant my missing an Everton-Liverpool “Derby” on the same day, Coggins deputizing in a 0-0 draw. It was at the back-end of the 1933-34 season that I had my first cartilage operation. I think I am the only goalkeeper to have had three cartilages removed.
On October 30, 1935 I was again selected for the Football League v. the Scottish League at Ibrox, and again it was a 2-2 draw. Tommy Walker latterly of Chelsea, and one of the best ever inside forwards was one of the Scottish “stars” that day. I received my first international cap in October 1935 against Ireland Scott who two seasons before had predicted that I would be “capped” should be in the opposite goal to see his prediction come true. Elisha had finished his long and honourable association with Liverpool, and was with Belfast Celtic of whom he is the present manager. I had a big family following at the game – or at least at half of it. The English supporters who came over by boat on the Friday night had such a shocking trip that they did not arrive in Belfast until late afternoon, and only reached the ground in time for the second half. The match was played in torrential rain and with half a gale blowing and in the first half, when we had to face the wind, I took several goal kicks (usually I could reach the half-way line) only to see them caught by the wind and carried back for corners.
Ireland led 1-0 at the interval through a goal by Brown, the Wolves right winger, but we came into our own in the second half with the wind and won 3-1 through goals by the Manchester City forwards, Tilson (2), and Brook. So strong was the wind that my goal kicks were reaching the Irish goalmouth, and from one of them Tilson got a goal. On April 4, 1936, I got the honour that footballers covet most, a cap v. the “old enemy” Scotland at Wembley. The teams were;- England; Sagar (Everton); Male and Hapgood (Arsenal); Crayston (Arsenal), Barker (Derby County); Bray (Manchester City), Crook (Derby County), Barclay (Sheffield Wednesday), Camsell (Middlesbrough), Bastin (Arsenal), Brook (Manchester City). Scotland; Dawson (Glasgow); Cummings (Aston Villa), Massie (Aston Villa); Simpson (Rangers), Anderson (Hearts), Brown (Rangers); Crum (Rangers), Walker (Hearts), McCulloch (Brentford), Venters (Rangers), Duncan (Derby County). We were winning 1-0 at half-time by a Camsell goal and had it not been for Dawson in the Scotland goal, we would have had half-a-dozen goals. As it was one goal appeared to be enough but in the second half, Crum, the Scots outside right fell over Hapgood’s leg and a penalty was awarded. The English players in that match will never concede that it was a penalty. Eddie Hapgood apologized to me and good captain and keen student he was told me where Walker usually put his penalty kicks, I dived to the side that Hapgood said, but Walker hit his shot with such power that it was in the net before I was able to get down. The game ended in a 1-1 draw.
At the end of the season, I was chosen to tour Austria and Belgium with the England team. Our first game was in Vienna where we were beaten by Austria 2-1. Both goals were scored by a clever Austrian centre forward with a strange sounding name who, so I read later took his life when the Germans walked into Austria. Continental Soccer tours can be a great experience. Whenever you go you are feted and in Austria we were entertained by the Austrian Government and on to Belgium we were beaten 3-2 by the Belgians whose by a certainly more robust things that of other Continental countries. Everton colleagues Jimmie Cunliffe was in the England team for this match. Prior to the game the spectators were entertained with a full-scale sports meeting on the surrounding track. Certainty the British football “fans” are not pandered to as the Continentals are. (What has happened to the Goodison cornet-player. While in Belgium we were taken to a theater, and while the audience were in paroxysms of mirth the British players sat frozen-faced. They must have thought that “these English” had no sense of humour but the plain truth is we could not understand a word. After the game against Belgium, Cunliffe and I joined the Everton team who were touring Germany.
During our sight-seeing tours we came on many foreboding manifestations of Hitlerism. Incidentally, we were the first British tourists to be allowed to see by special permission of the Germany Government, the Berlin Olympic Stadium with its symbolic nude statuary. On tour one has to make one’s own fun, and there is no greater practical joker than Harry Cooke, the Everton trainer. One never knows what he is up to next. He can always be relied upon to keep the party going with some unexpected prank. No clubs has ever had a better trainer than Harry Cooke who is no merely a trainer but a friend guide and counsel. It is on tours and at away matches that one appreciates the organizing genius of Mr. Theo Kelly, the Everton secretary, who is recognized throughout the football world as one of the most efficient officials in the game. If Theo were not so irretrievably wedded to football he might have rivaled Mr. Cooke, of Cook’s Tours fame as a travel organizer.
Fun On Tour
Life on a football tour is always good fun, so long as you retain your sense of humor. If your best suddenly collapses under you, or if on your return to the hotel you find your bed completely dismantled, it’s no good complaining or asking who was the perpetrator; you’ll only get one answer- “Gremlins.” One player who shall be un-named spent an uncomfortably long period in his bare feet on a cold iron fire escape in his pajamas, and with his world possessions under his arms after one sadistic joker had locked the unfortunate victim’s bedroom door in a Danish hotel and shouted “Fire.” On another occasion, at Harrogate the Everton players bought a tortoise as a pet and it may have been a mere coincidence that they “bedded it down” for the night in the bed of one player who was particularly nervous. The unsuspecting victim climbed optimistically into bed, Seconds later he jumped out like a startled faun and shot out of the room like a Powderball sprinter, hollering “There a crocy-dile in ma baid (readers should be able at east to establish the nationality of the player concerned). He finished up panting in the arms of his hilarious comrades who by chance (?) happened to be passing at the time. Neither are the directors immune A “Solo” school on the train was completely wrecked when a director feeling in an outside jacket pocket to pay for a rash-call pulled out a tame mouse which someone had quietly secreted I don’t think they ever bothered to pick up the scattered cards.
Next Week Ted Sagar will describe the high-lights of Everton’s 1938-39 championship years, and reflect on some of his experiences in one of the best “teams “in history –H.M. Forces 1938-45.
DEAN GETS SAGAR’S VERDICT “ON POINTS”
July 23, 1949. The Liverpool Echo
Lawton Footwork Superb But “Dixie” Headwork Unique
By Ted Sagar
As Told To Allan Robinson
Ted Sagar today reminisces on the “years between” Everton’s 1933 cup win and their 1938-39 championship year, intervenes in the ever green controversy, Dean or Lawton, and draws on some war-time memories, while serving with the Royal Corps of Signals.
After the excitement of the three 10 previous seasons, when we won the Second Division championship, the First Division championship and the F.A Cup in successive seasons years between 1933 and 1939, when we again won the First Division championship, were comparatively restful. Yet they are full of memories. It was in 1934 that I got my first benefit cheque. Apart from the financial fillip, it is a great thrill to be the central figure in the little ceremony that the Everton board put on in the dressing room in the presence of all the players on such an occasion. Mr. Ernie Green handed the cheque after a happy little speech I got another benefit cheque in 1939, and but for the war would have been qualifying for my fourth. A footballer’s benefit, very welcome thought it is pales beside Cyril Washbrook’s £14,000, which may even be exceeded by Denis Compton’s reward. No matter how generous a football club is –and Everton is one of the best clubs in the country in its treatment of its players –it cannot exceed the maximum laid down. In 1937 I had my third cartilage out, and my second game on my return was against Leicester City at Goodison on Boxing Day, but apparently it was not my lucky day, in attempting to deal with a centre from the right wing I came into collision with Joe Mercer, the Everton right half, and dislocated my shoulder, three minutes before the interval.
Off to Hospital
I Was taken off and doctors and ambulance men tried to replace my shoulder in the dressing room but without success. I was rushed to Stanley Hospital and the shoulder was menceurved back into position. I wanted to get back to the ground to give the boys what little help I could but the doctors sought to strap my arm up. I prevailed upon them to let me get back to Goodison unfettered and ran on the field and the play had been resumed in the second half –Smoking A Cigarette. I must have been still bemused by other used for the operation. “Nine-goals” Bunny Bell, the ex-Tranmere centre-forward who got the then record bag in the Prenton side’s 13-4 victory over Oldham Athletic, had taken my place to goal and I played at outside left (the position in which as a school-boy I started my footballer career). I believe I acquitted myself quite well. The score was 1-1 when I was injured, but we went on to win 3-1. I had a great chance of scoring from the left-wing position, but as I shot wide Sandy McLaren the Leicester goalkeeper said to me “If you had scored I would have reported you to the goalkeepers “Union.” It is rare for a goalkeeper playing out of position to score but it did happen to me in a game against Arsenal at Goodison. Moss the Arsenal goalkeeper dislocated his collar-bone and, while playing on the wing snapped up a chance and put one pass me.
Everton to the Rescue
On Moss’s injury hangs the tale of the memorable signing by Arsenal of George Bradshaw, the Everton goalkeeper, a few hours before the “dead-line” for signing of players who could appear that season. Arsenal at that time had nearly all their goalkeepers on the casualty list and Moss’s mishap had left them in a jam. The “Gunners” enlisted Everton’s aid. I believe my name was mentioned by Arsenal but Everton would not part and compromised by allowing Bradshaw to sign in one of the slickest deals in football’s history. Bradshaw who previously played for New Brighton and later for Doncaster and Bury, is one of the smallest and slimmest goalkeepers in League football. The years between certainly brought the personalities to Everton Joe “Legs” Mercer and Tommy Jones. Both great players and club men; Tommy Lawton, as big a favourite abroad as he was in Britain and Torry Gillick, the best positional player I have ever seen in my 20 years of football, and one whose uncanny anticipation turned 100 to 1 chance into magnificent goals. He was always popping up at unexpected moments and I remember that for days Torry was walking around with the loveliest pair of black eyes one could imagine as the reward for one piece of enterprise when he headed a half-chance into the net while the surprised Villa goalkeeper, Rutherford, accidentally landed a punch between Torry’s eyes that would not have disgraced Joe Louis. For days after Torry could only glare balefully as the Everton players in passing, whistled innocently. “Two Lovely Black Eyes.”
Dean Or Lawton?
Invidious though comparisons are, it is impossible to mention the name of Tommy Lawton without someone asking “Who was the better –Dean or Lawton?” Hitherto I have always tried to give an evasive answer. As readers of the series will know, Billy Dean has always been my football idol, but if I were asked to give my candid opinion, forgetting personal feelings and having played in scores of matches with both, I would have to give the vote to Dean by a narrow points margin. Like the boxing referees I would reserve the right to refuse to disclose my score card. Tommy probably had the edge in his superb footwork and with the possible exception of Tommy Jones was the hardest hitter of a ball since the days of Wilf Chadwick, but Dean’s headwork was unique. I don’t think anybody before or since could turn a ball on a curl-like William Ralph Dean. Everton’s 1938-39 championship year is within such comparatively recent memory that I think it is only necessary for me to touch upon the highlights. We started off like champions that year, winning the first six games, three of them away, but Middlesbrough put a stop to our run by beating us 3-0 at Ayresome Park. The following match we beat Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield. The rest highlights, however, was a double over Arsenal’s might anybody, who could do that in 1938 deserved the championship. We continued consistently to pile up the points without any of those spectators flourishes that marked our 1932 championship season and had the title in our keeping three matches from the end even though we lost at Charlton.
High and Dry
Wolves, who had been close on our heels had to get at least two points at Bolton to keep the issue open, but they only drew and left us high and dry at the top. In fact, at one time it looked as though we might bring off the elusive double, as we had a good run in the Cup. In the third round we beat Derby 1-0 in the fourth round we trounced Doncaster 8-0, Tommy Lawton getting four, and in the fifth round, after drawing against Birmingham away, we beat them in the replay at Goodison through a Billy Cook penalty kick. In the sixth round we were drawn against Wolves who had put out Liverpool 4-1 in an earlier round. We thought we had a chance of saving Merseyside’s face, but Wolves were irresistible about that time. In a mid-week game prior to the Cup-tie they defeated us 7-0, Morton being the unfortunate Everton keeper that day and the Wolves confirmed their superiority by beating us 2-0 at Molineux. That was the last full season before the war, and in 1940-1 I joined one of the finest “teams” in history –H.M. Forces. I was trained as a driver –mechanic in the Royal Corps of Signals, and later, when I was stationed in County Armagh, I played for Portadown and Glentoran. We were soon posted to Indian and in the troopship going over I was introduced to the intricacies “Housey-Housey” by a old sweat who was “broke” and borrowed 10s from me to start the racket. At the end of the trip I was broke and the “regular” whom I had initially financed had something like £200.
Met Wilf Mannion
I played quite a lot of football while in India for the R.C.S, one of the games at Ranchi being against the Green Howarths, whose star was Wilf Mannion. The Signals won 1-0 and I saved several “purlers” from Wilf, who later said to me, “I’ll beat you in one of these matches.” He certainly did some months later when he scored a hat-trick against me in Palestine. From India we went to Persia, where I played for the Fifth Division including Mannion and Jim McCabe, Middlesbrough and Leeds United against the Persia international side at Tenran Stadium before the Shah of Persia, to whom we were presented before the game. The Persians, who knew than the rudiments of the game, won 1-0. With the Fifth Division, probably the most travelled division in the Bristish Army I took part in the first landing at Sicily and was later present at the Anzio landings. For days we were constantly subjected to heavy shelling, but even them, with tin hats as part of our football equipment, we managed to get in several matches on the beaches. On various occasions we had to suspend operations owing to the intensity of the shelling, but we always insisted on going out and finishing the game when the attack had abated. Several times the meal queues were broken up as shelling started again and everybody dashed for the dug-outs.
Hall-Marked of Class
I have a cutting from a Forces paper which always amuses me “Outside a little mountain village in Italy a group of British-soldiers and Italian civilians were taking turns to boot an old ball at a makeshift goal. One post was the end of a house, the other was a fruit tree at the road-side. And there parrying shot after shot, was a tall fair-haired R.C’s lance-corporal. He had the hall-mark of class. His name? Ted Sagar of Everton and England. It must have been on a similar occasion that a certain welfare captain who football interests in England was passing. He stop and watched for a few minutes, and then remarked to his bat-man “Find out that man’s name, I think (mentioned a First Division Club) will be interested in him.” To which the batman, who knew me well, replied “I think you had better have a word with Everton first sir. That’s Ted Sagar.”
Next week Ted Sagar will tell a human story of how believing he was “all washed up” he returned to Goodison, asked Mr. Theo Kelly whether he could be of any further use, and how encouraged by Mr. Kelly, Coach Jock Thomson and Trainer Harry Cooke, he fought his way back to the first team and went on to complete his 400th game with the club on February 19, 1949.
BLUES COACHING PLAN
July 26th 1949. The Evening Express
Everton F.C’s plan for the coming season include the continued coaching of junior talent, said Mr. Cliff Britton the club’s manager at Goodison Park when the players reported to training. Gordon Watson who has rendered noble service to Everton is to take over coaching duties and he will be assisted by Stan Bentham, who will combine the role with playing.
Best news for the Toffee’s is the excellent progress of Jack Hedley in his recovery from the broken ankle he sustained at Birmingham last February. Jack is doing light work on the ground o strengthen the ankle and hopes to be playing within two months. “I am taking things easily, but I shall know myself when it is strong enough to kick a ball” he told me.
Familiar figures at Goodison included Alec Stevenson, the former Irish International, who has taken up his new post as assistant to trainer Harry Cook.
EVERTON’S PLAYING STAFF
July 28th 1949. The Evening Express
Everton F.C’s professional playing staff, retained from last season and including three new signings total 34. The list also includes Aubrey Powell, for whom Everton are open to receive offers, following his non-acceptance of the terms offered him.
The players are;-
J.A Jones, birthplace; Birkenhead, previous club, amateur; date signed 29.11.45
J. O’Neill, Dublin, amateur, 9-5-49
E. Sagar, Doncaster, amateur, 26-3-29
T. Clinton, Dundalk, 15-3-48
G. Dugdale, Liverpool, amateur, 25-6-46
N. Greenhalgh, Bolton, N. Brighton 28-1-38
J.R. Hedley, Willington, Quay, amateur 25-4-45
T.E. Jones, Liverpool, Amateur, 27-1-48
E. Moore, St. Helens, amateur, 15-2-49
G. Rankin, Liverpool, Ametuer, 23-8-48
G.E. Saunders, Birkenhead, amateur, 31-1-38
S,J. Bentham, Lowton, Wigan Ath, 12-2-34
L. Doyle, Liverpool, Amateur, 19-5-45
D.E. Falder, Liverpool, Amateur, 22-12-45
J.A. Grant, High Spen, amateur, 5-12-42
P.D. Farrell, Dublin, Shamrock Rovers, 11-7-46
J.V. Humphreys, Llandundo, amateur, 26-4-43
T.G. Jones, Queensfor, Wrexham, 11-3-36
C.F. Lello, Ludlow, Shrewsbury, 19-9-42
W.M. Lindley, Keighley, amateur, 29-2-36
S.F. Street, Newton-Le-Williows, amateur, 3-5-48
J. Tansey, Liverpool, amateur, 3-5-48
H. Catterick, Stockport, amateur, 24-4-37
P. Corr, Dundalk, Preston, 12-8-48
D. Donovan, Cork, amateur, 21-5-49
T. Eglington, Dublin, Shamrock Rovers, 11-7-46
A.W. Fielding, London, amateur, 7-9-45
W.C. Higgins, Birkenhead, amateur, 11-3-46
S. Jones, Rhosneigr, amateur, 12-1-49
J. McIntosh, Dumfriers, Blackpool, 2-3-49
W.J. Parker, Birkenhead, amateur, 9-12-48
A. Powell, Swansea, Leeds United, 8-7-48
E. Wainwright, Southport, amateur, 23-3-44
G. Lewis, Bangor, amateur, 3-3-48
THOUGHT I WAS A FOOTBALL “HAS-BEEN”
July 30, 1949. The Liverpool Echo
But Good Friends Helped in My “Come-Back.”
By Ted Sagar
As Told to Allan Robinson
Continuing his lift story, Ted Sagar heads this chapter “The Man Who Came Back,” and Tells how, with the encouragement of his good Everton friends, he regained first team status and took on a new lease of football life when by all the signs and portents his first-class career appeared to be finished. When Everton players reported for training this week, Sagar was one of the first to check in, ready and eager for his first season with the “Blues.”
At the end of hostilities the Fifth Division to which I was attached was stationed at Brunswick, Germany, and football was the main diversion to relieve the boredom for the troops. I was chosen to play for the B.A.O.R, which was practically an international team, and, based on present day values, represented about £100,000 worth of football talent. They were able to call on Denis Westcott, of Wolves, Lewis the Arsenal centre forward, Aubrey Powell, Leeds and Everton; Hagan Sheffield United; Eddie Hapgood, Arsenal; Hughes, the Birmingham Welsh (international); Swindin, Arsenal; and Ormston, Stoke together with a number of Scottish stars. The first game I played for B.A.O.R was against Liverpool, who included Kemp, Matt Busby; McInnes, Balmer, Fagan, “Nivvy” Welsh (Charlton), and Billy Liddell. We drew 3-3 which was quite a creditable performance in view of the fact that Liverpool had previously beaten the R.A.F X1 by seven goals. I also played for B.A.O. R against Brentford, Wolves, and Notts County. Although judged by Army football standards, I was still playing well enough to hold my place, I felt I had gone back a mile after my long lay-off and that my First Division career was finished. My reflexes were dulled and I really believed that the last charter had been written to the story of “Ted Sagar – Footballer.” There were times when I lay on my Army bunk and thought, “What now?” I was at the cross-roads. It was more in fear than in hope that in 1946 in an unmistakable “demob” suit I presented myself at Goodison Park and asked whether I could be of any further use. Most of my readers will have seen that magnificent film, “The Best Years of Our Lives,” which tells the story of the hopes and fears of four American ex-Servicemen as they seek to rehabilitate themselves in “Civvy Street.” I think I could have stepped into that film without a rehearsal. Theirs was play-acting; mine was the real thing –no more I suppose, than that of thousands more like me who were returning and wondering what the future held for them. But here and now let me express my thanks to Mr. Theo Kelly, whose cordial greeting made me feel immediately at home and more important made me feel that I was “wanted.” It was something I will never forget. Burnett was playing well and I was not optimistic about getting my place back in the first team however hard I tried to recover my pre-war form. I felt that a run in the reserves might help me to get the “feel” of the ball, and I felt there was a chance that some of it might come back to me. Here was my debut of 1929 all over again.
Fears for Future
My first game in the 1946-47 season was for the reserves against West Bromwich Reserves at Goodison Park and although we won 2-1 I was beaten by a header that I would have taken in my stride in 1939. Again I was stricken by my earlier fears. It certainly did not help to restore my confidence. I was not too optimistic about my future in football and seriously through about looking around for some other sphere of activity. As the season progressed, however, I began to regain some of my confidence, and here I wish to pay tribute and express my thanks to Jock Thomson the present Manchester City manager, then our coach, who encouraged me to –persevere –“It’ll all come back, he say –and to trainer Harry Cooke, who helped to bring me back to the pitch of physical –and more important, mental –fitness of necessary in top-class football. I began to play well enough apparently to be considered again for the first team and with a view to my reinstatement Mr. Ernest Green a director, travelled specially with the reserves to Newcastle to see how I shaped. We were beaten 8-0 (One goal more than my worst experience with the first team). You can imagine my feelings. There goes my last chance,” I thought. But strange to relate, I was chosen to play for the first team, at Leeds where we were beaten 2-1. Aubrey Powell got the United’s first goal, and in trying to save it I came down heavily on my shoulder, and for a couple of months after I felt the effects. But I did not say anything about it. I felt that if I gave up this chance, it might never come again. In the 1946-7 season I played 29 First Division games. The following season, 1947-8, I played in all 42 League games, and I consider it was my best season ever.
During the 1947-8 season the newspapers critics were talking of a new lease of international life for me, but I yield to no one in my admiration for Frank Swift, a giant both in the physical and football sense. Last season was another milestone in my career, I played in 40 League games –injury deprived me of an ever-present certicate –and it was on February 19 that I made my 400th League appearances for the Blues,” at Preston. It was a nice gesture on the part of Mr. Cliff Britton and Peter Farrell, the Everton captain to allow me to skipper the side that day. There was a completely unrehearsed and unexpected ceremony as I came on to the field at Deepdale. A section of Everton supporters who, I believe were fans from the Automatic Telephone Manufacturing Company, took the opportunity of presenting me with a mounted plaque to mark my 400th appearance. The presentation was made by Mr. W. Smythe on their behalf, I did not have the opportunity to thank them adequately for the kind thought and if these lines should catch their eye I would like to say sincerely “Thank You, Lads. It is one of my must cherished possessions.” Another indication of the warm heartness of the football fans of this city was the presentation to me by a group of sportsmen, including Nel Tarleton and Alderman Luke Hogan of a wristlet watch and cigarette case at the Grafton Ball-room, where things were said that brought a lump to my throat and caused me once again to thank the powers of providence that directed my steps to the City of Liverpool and Goodison Park. Last season was an exciting one for the Everton fans, faced as we were almost throughout with the bogey of relegation, but with the coming of Mr. Cliff Britton with his “B” plan and tactical talks we felt our safety was assured. He took on the managerial job at an awkward time without fuss of flurry and all at Goodison reposed every confidence in his ability to get us out of the wood.” It is impossible to be associated with Mr. Britton without being struck by his infinite football knowledge and air of quiet efficiency and I have every confidence that under his guidance Everton F.C. will aspire to new glories.
Next Week Ted Sagar will recall some memorable games, including the Everton v. Sunderland 6-4 cup tie “classic” and pick from the Everton players he has known in the past 20 years what he considers would be the “Blues” ideal side.